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Roles and Responsibilities

Counter-Terrorism policy and legislation is reserved to the Westminster Government, but many aspects of preparation, prevention and dealing with the consequences of a terrorist act in Scotland would be managed and controlled by the Scottish Government and local agencies.

The CONTEST (Counter Terrorism) Scotland Board is the high-level board that oversees the delivery of counter-terrorism activity in Scotland. It meets four times a year and involves key representatives from all the main organisations involved in tackling terrorism - including UK, Scottish and local government, police, fire and ambulance services, the military and those working to tackle violent extremism.


In order to allow the Police to carry out pursue related activity, the Scottish Government provides funding for specialised Counter Terrorism policing posts, mostly based in each of Scotland's eight police forces, working to investigate terrorist activity, pursue suspects across Scotland and take steps to ensure that the risk of attack is minimised.

There is also a central Counter Terrorist Intelligence Unit, which provides co-ordination, analysis and policy advice. In addition to investigating terrorist activity, the police carry out a number of other innovative roles - e.g. through the advice offered to businesses/owners of important sites by Counter Terrorist Security Advisers in every Scottish Police Force Area.


The Scottish Preventing Violent Extremism Unit (SPVEU) has been established within the Scottish Government's Equality Unit in order to lead work on the prevent strand in Scotland - this is a collaboration between the Scottish Government and the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland - the unit is currently engaged in the development of a number of activities to tackle violent extremism, including the establishment of Scotland Against Violent Extremism Networks (SCAVEN).


The protect strand is about making Scotland a less viable target to terrorist attack, through a range of activities to improve physical security and safety around Scotland's Critical National Infrastructure and Crowded Places. This work involves the Counter Terrorist Security Advisers, the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) and the National Counter Terrorist Security Office (NaCTSO).


Whilst all this activity aims to reduce the likelihood of a terrorist incident we also need to prepare for such an eventuality, to ensure that we can respond to and recover from any incident as effectively as possible. Work on preparing for such an event is led by Scottish Resilience, in liaison with the emergency services across Scotland (see the Civil Emergencies Homepage).